suggestion for a tool kit


Well-Known Member
im going to start purchasing a tool kit for myself, maunly for lighting and general tech. heres what i have on my shopping list so far. im looking at spend around $100-200 at most, total. any suggestions and any additons would be great.

- tool bag/case(medium sized canvas bag)
- pens/pencils(Pilot G2’s)
- sharpies
- gloves
- swatch books
- maybe a product catalog
- graphing notebook
- set of screw drivers
- set of mini screw drivers
- a small ratchet set
- standard pliers
- needle nose pliers
- wire stripper
- wire/side cuter
- 2x 8” C-wrenches
- retractable utility knife
- tweezers
- scissors
- allen wrench set
- tape[electrical, duct, masking(maybe gaff if I can find it or “borrow” a roll)]
- quick links
- extra plugs(Edison and stage pin)
- safety cables
- rope and string
- fishing wire
- extra wire
- flashlight(my Maglight)
- tie line
- altman wrench
- tape measure
- ruler and lighting template
Looks good. If you can actually get all of that for under $200, I applaud you and wish to know where you find such great deals. I would get some colored electrical tape and put it on the handle of every tool and part in your bag so that you make sure to get it all back. It's often hard at the end of a show to determine whose tools are whose, despite the attempts at keeping them seperate.
my school's equipment all have bright orange dots on them, i plan the label with my entials and maybe a colored dot of paint. if i can find someone who can, i want to have all the metal tools engraved wth my entials.
one other thing, what should i buy first, that i will need the most. then over a few months i will pick up the rest of the stuff.

heres what i need to buy, the rest i either have, can borrow from school, or buym as time goes on.
- tool bag/case(medium sized canvas bag)
- pens/pencils(Pilot G2’s)
- set of screw drivers
- set of mini screw drivers
- a small ratchet set
- standard pliers
- needle nose pliers
- wire stripper
- wire/side cuter
- 2x 8” C-wrenches
- retractable utility knife
- tweezers
- scissors
- allen wrench set
- altman wrench
- tape measure
One thing I would add is a
- Soldering Iron
- some good solder
- a good cable tester
You would not believe how many cables I have had to make or fix. Plus a lot of speakers have solder connections.
Here's what I think should be a necessity for you to have soon:

- something to carry tools in
- set of screw drivers
- needle nose pliers
- wire/side cuter
- 1x 8” C-wrenches
- retractable utility knife
- tape measure

anything on top of that is a bonus. You can get away with whats listed here to start, and build on it later. Why 2 c-wrenches though?
You never know when someone else will borrow your wrench when you need it. It happens at the most inconvenient times.
My own comments:

Metric tool set or at least allen key set. Also a 15/16" Deep Well Socket for the size of your ratchet set. (Truss Bolt)

Save the duct tape. If you are not supplied with Gaffers tape, it’s the house’s problem. Same with electrical tape though it is smart to bring your own just in case. Green, Red, White, Orange (hopefully you don’t need it) Blue, & Black.

What’s the quick links for?

Extra plugs are okay, but what’s the safety cables for? Are you in business for yourself or to supply house/production gear? Do you charge you extra for this and do you have liability insurance to cover you in you providing them?

For initial cost effectiveness, a Klien #32477 10 in 1 tool has most of the tools you need initially for a screw driver.

Don’t see belt clip tool pouch and a Leatherman (type).
Two tape measures, one for normal usage & one at least 25'. Tool lanyards - both power tool and especially C-wrench.

Things to add or consider:
Clamp Style Multi-Meter rated for at least 400A, voltage & Ohms/continuity. True RMS is a good thing. Also that clamp sized for at least 1.1/4" in dia. Is necessary.
Key type Padlock
Fluke #1AC-A voltage sniffer.
Figure 8 amperage test adaptor.
Personal first aid kit and water bottle.
Rain gear and work gloves - both dirty work and rope work gloves.
Felco C-7 wire rope cutters
Nut Driver Set. 1/4", 5/16", 11/32", 3/8", 7/16", ½" & 9/16"
16oz at least hammer.
Small 7" Wonder Bar. Stanley #55-045
Cordless Soldering Iron & Solder
Butane Charger for Iron
Magnetic Torpedo Level
Electrical double jaw Crimp/Stakon Tool
Medium Cable Cutters 1" Capacity
Linesmens Pliers with NE Crimp Tool & Fish Tape Puller
Klien #D333-8 Conduit Pliers for Strain Relief Nut & Fittings, Pipe Reaming, Needle Nose & Bolts. (Very useful and recommended)
14.4v quality - Milwaukee, DeWalt, Panasonic, Bosch, or Porter Cable Cordless Drill, or at least a Milwaukee or Panasonic 3.6v or DeWalt #DW920K-2 7.2v Cordless Screw Driver.
2" Magnetic & Locking 1/4" Hex driver bit extension bit holder.
2" Power Screw Driver Bit Kit including at least three #2 Philips, and one of each of the following: #1 Philips, #3 Philips, #6-8 & #8-10 & #10-12 Slotted Screw Driver Bits, #2 Pozi-Drive (Darned French old style Socapex), #2 Square Drive, #10, 15, &25 Torx, 1/4" socket adaptor, 5/16" Magnetic nut driver, Nut drivers of various sizes, & Various Hex Drivers from 1/4" to 7/16". Often you can find this in a set from 33pc to 100pc. The 2" driver kit is much more useful than the 1" types where it comes to a tool locking mechanism.

Remember on screw drivers that there is cabinet tip and Keystone tip screw drivers. The Keystone tipped screw driver will be often square shank in allowing you to use your C-Wrench for more leverage. The Cabinet tip in use will fit into tighter spaces. The Keystone is stronger by design and more useful.
If you buy individual tools, your #2 Philips screw driver (You also need #0, #1 & #3), your #2 needs to be of very good quality to get your money’s worth out of it. Even if the rest of your tools are Stanley, Tool Shop, Huskey or what ever, it should be a Klien #2 Philips.

Also buy at least Craftsman if not Allen, Klien or Crescent for quality in C-Wrenches. Perhaps insulated handle, one of 6" wide jaw type and one 8" or better yet, one 8" and one 10".

Ratcheting Box Wrenches are tremendiously useful, especially the 5/8"/3/4" size. Should not be offset. While offset is useful, it’s not much good for a fixture yoke. Craftsman is the king here if not a Light Speed wrench.

5/16" T-Handle if not in addition to say a T-Handle set is necessary. Most Coffin Locks are 5/16" thus both for platforms and for road boxes you will need one.

Gam Checks are nice, so are DMX checkers. At least a GFCI popping Edison checker with appropriate adaptors for what you see would be a good thing.

6 in 1 Tapping Screw Driver. Klien #627-20 For most appliations, having a tapping screw driver will be useful to have if you don’t have access to a tap and die.

Pin splitter for stage pin cable
Follow spot handle & Aiming mechanism
Calculator Especially a carpentry if not electrician’s calculator.
Backstage Handbook and some form of builder’s pocket reference guide
12" Pump Handle Pliers - Channel Locks
Vise Grips including a #12LC for large pipe
Pipe Wrench Set
Ok i can only tell you what i have and hopefully this will serve you well.

1- custome ata work box 4 feet tall with castors lid pops off and becomes a table there are tons of drawers and a space to hang harnesses in plus it holds my computer and flat screen monitor which i run my wysiwyg sytem off its great for loadins and such.

2- wysiyg sytem

3- c wrenches and anyother wrench type device you can imagine they acumulate over the years.

4- rachet and acsessorys

5- my supply of gaff glow board tape anything that i find on other sets i never buy my own there is no need

6-solder and iron and matt to protect the work surface

7- harness for riggers

8 work boots and hard hat

9- sash cord for my own cabels

10- screw drivers and all that gak

11- the most important thing i have in my kit is my own personal clear com head set with out it i would be lost. its light weight and comfey for those long rigging and programing hours.

first off there is no need for anything else unless you are designing the show on the spot why do you need swatchbooks if your not planing what you need to order i say keep those at home. secondly why the rulers and lighting stencils again your not designing that is done before hand at the office or at home. you will never in your life need a wrech in a theatre and a swatchbook at the same time its just wrong lol

next dont take to much with you it will get stolen even if you have your name on it. how do you think we lighting guys end up with somemany terminators no one needs to make them they just take them off there gigs

you dont need an ata case but a good quality box is important i sepent the grand on the case cause i use it so much and its so perfect for my set up because i designed it but you just need a really nice metal box not plastic

Foxinabox10 said:
You never know when someone else will borrow your wrench when you need it. It happens at the most inconvenient times.

Seeing as you are still willing to lend tools....(you'll learn eventually..) you should get a good wrench to keep on yourself at all times, and the second wrench just be a cheap one. In the event that your second wrench doesn't get returned or somehow goes missing, its not a huge loss.
John, if you dont mind me asking, where did you get your box made? There are a few case manufactuers in the London area here, but I have a good feeling you're in Toronto, and therefore possibly have a much larger selection of companies. Thanks.
I went to clysdale if you want contact info just pm me but i will say they are fast and cheep and quality and i know the expression says you can only have 2 but i got all 3

just over a grand for an amazing flight case.

i would like to have 1 or 2 saftey cabels for maybe hooking a tool on my belt when working above(i plan to have a bungie cord type one for my wrench) i have cheap soldering iron. its always handing to have your swatchbooks with you. i would love to have a DMM ill get one in a few years, i hope. for now ill pass on the saftey harness. i dont plan to have a hammer, crow bar, or drill or such thigns in this pack. thsoe i can take seperate when i need them. im plannign thsi to be like my safe haven...always be prepared for theatre stuff. sure my high school has all these tools and the other theatre does to. but i dont have any tools at home for simple repairs around the house. it will feel better knowing that i have the tools for the job. at my school we dont have stage pin and we seem to have lost our GFCI checker and ill just build a female edison to male stage pin for that too(would that work?) i want like a medium sized, tough canvas style bag. sure the breifcase style ones are nice, but i like bags more. tomorrow im hopefully getting a camera then with in the next few weeks i will begin my purchases of the before-mentioned gear.
Quick links of sufficent size on the back of a C-wrench can be very useful for T handles that are really tight.
oh right, they come in handy if i need to hang something on my bag. its not like id have a full set of them just on like the handle of my bag just in case im in need of one.
when you say you would clip safty chains to your belt do you mean "tool layards" to stop tools that you are using at heights from droping . or do you mean that you will clip the safty to a lighting batton and your belt while your hanging a fixture?

ok fi its number one ok its a cheep solution to the tool lanyard problem but steel cables are not that flexable so when your trying to rotate your rench it wont let you i say get a real cloth tool lanyard

If its number two are you crazy that is the worst thing you could possibly do with a safty chain your better to fall with out it then with it. if you want fall protection then do it right get a harness and a life line and have it certified your theatre must then train the staff in the rescue procedures and such haveing your self on a safty chain what good is that so lets say you fall off your ladder then your hanging there from your belt which is not all that strong from a safty chain rated to hold lets say300 pounds in total and i am yet to see this safty chain and it is practice to have a safty that is rated to 3 times the load you will put on it. so now you better weigh 100 pounds next your suspended there lets say it doesnt break now how do they get you down? i would say that this is a terrible idea safty chains have one purpos stopping lights from falling if by chance the clamp comes undone do your self a favor never bring your own fall arest equipment unless its a harness.

ps if for some reason its just because you want to have some saftys so when your up a ladder and you spot an light with out a chain so you dont have to go down the ladder while thats not advisable either. if you put your safty on one of the theatres lights you are automaticaly as the "Vendor" responsible for its safty can you gurentee and have insurance to back you up that this chain will work i thought not

dont bother

Jon Hirsh
propmonkey said:
if i can find someone who can, i want to have all the metal tools engraved wth my entials.

I'll loan you my engraving tool for the cost of shipping!
i wouldnt use a safety cable for myself when im on a ladder. i have found them useful in other places. a few of our janitors have "borrowed" some of our safety cables to hang paper towel on, on their carts.
Wouldn't any rotary tool like a dremel work to engrave tools and such?

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